FC Schalke 04 are favored to earn all three points at the Veltins Arena against Union Berlin, but the scrappy visitors surely won’t make it easy on David Wagner’s men.
After 12 Bundesliga Matchdays, FC Schalke 04 are fifth in the league table behind Freiburg, and only three points separate them from Borussia Monchengladbach in the tightest of title races. Gladbach are coming off an upset loss to Schalke’s Matchday 13 opponents, as Union Berlin shocked them 2-0 behind goals from Anthony Ujah and Sebastian Andersson.
Stopping Ujah and Andersson as a rising striker tandem will be imperative for the Royal Blues, but they will also want to continue their streak of games with multiple goals scored.
Here are five players who need to shine on Friday evening at the Veltins against Union.
CB Matija Nastasic
Former Manchester City prospect Matija Nastasic returned to the starting lineup last week against Werder Bremen after missing some time with an Achilles’ injury, and he and Ozan Kabak formed an effective partnership against a Werder side that can be dangerous in the attack.
Nastasic will need to be even better as the weeks roll on, since Benjamin Stambouli may not return before Christmas and Salif Sane will be out until February.
The 26-year-old Serbian has the ability to be one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga, and his passing and positioning will need to be sharp against two astute strikers in Andersson and Ujah. As a veteran of the Bundesliga, Ujah will pose a huge threat for Schalke defensively, especially if he gets space and opportunities to link up with Andersson.